Graphic Recording on Paper
If you want to know more about digital graphic recording instead, please see here.
Graphic recording; graphic harvesting; visual thinking; live drawing – it’s a practice with lots of different names, used interchangeably, but they all follow the same principle. The graphic recorder works at conferences and events to gather key learnings, create an engaging visual display and spark joy and conversation.
What does a graphic harvester actually do?
The graphic harvester is hired to bring their unique skill set to an event – it could be a large corporate conference or an intimate community workshop. They set up in an area of the venue where they can hear the speaker(s) and see any on-screen presentation, but not distract from them. This is usually at the back of the room, near an entrance/exit so that when delegates leave for breaks or at the end of a session they can see the progress and take photos etc.
While the event is underway, the graphic recorder takes notes during the talks, picks out key points and draws a visualisation of the day’s proceedings onto a large paper display. During breaks and after the event, attendees are encouraged to go and see what has been produced – they can take photographs to record and share, and conversations often occur amongst delegates based on the content that they see. The ideas from the session are refreshed in their memory and they can leave with the important points still on their mind.
It’s a creative and dynamic way of getting attendees to interact with what they’ve learned. In some settings during break-out sessions or discussion groups the attendees may also be encouraged to participate further in the art-work and bring their own thoughts to the display in the form of post-it notes.
Do I need a graphic harvester at my event?
It depends on what you want to get out of the day. The goals of graphic recording on paper are to:
1. Document the journey
The day’s learnings and key points from speakers are visually mapped, with the large-scale artwork produced created as both an event reminder for display and as proof of the event’s outcomes.
2. Engage attendees
The imagination of delegates is captured as they see the ideas of the day brought to life in front of them. Attendees often take photographs to refer to later or to post to their own social channels. These drawings provide an element of theatre but are not just for show – they engage the visual learners in the room and are a catalyst for meaningful conversations.
3. Create an event with impact
Attendees leave with key takeaways that will stick with them long after the buzz from the day is over.
Choosing a Graphic Recorder:
Most professional graphic recorders will be experienced and highly credible; so I think the most useful thing to do once you’ve ascertained that is take a look at examples of their work to see if they would be a good fit for what you’re looking for.
Here are a few things to look for:
- The quality of the content that has been captured is vital – Is the information useful? Is it clear?
- Graphic recorders are keen listeners and visual thinkers but they’re also artists; And just like you may have a preference for a particular art style, you may have a particular style of graphic recording that you prefer. Does their art style appeal to you?
- Some graphic recorders who work on paper also offer digital graphic recording. Some offer optional add-ons to their service like illustrations, animated GIFs etc. If pre and post-event work is something you’d like to incorporate that may also be something to consider.